Rooney says Pogba was 'player of Euro 2020' before France crashed out

Wayne Rooney says Paul Pogba was ‘the player of Euro 2020’ before France crashed out… and claims Marcus Rashford needs to learn to make runs like Kylian Mbappe to help the midfielder replicate his international form with Manchester United

  • Wayne Rooney believes Paul Pogba was player of Euro 2020 before France’s exit
  • Rooney feels Kylian Mbappe’s clever runs managed to get the best out of Pogba
  • Rooney says Marcus Rashford should make similar runs for Manchester United
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

Wayne Rooney has claimed that Paul Pogba was the best performer at Euro 2020 prior to France’s exit.

Pogba has often been criticised for his inconsistent displays for Manchester United but was hugely impressive for France before they were knocked out by Switzerland at the last-16 stage.

United legend Rooney believes that Pogba was able to excel for Didier Deschamps’ side as he was playing deeper in midfield than he usually does for United and was therefore able to make better use of his passing range.

Wayne Rooney believes Paul Pogba was the best player at Euro 2020 before France went out

Rooney, who played with Pogba, claims that the midfielder excelled as he was playing deeper

Rooney wrote in The Times: ‘Like a lot of people, I fancied the French to be champions and as a team they were a massive disappointment. That was a particular shame for Paul Pogba. He had been the player of the tournament until they went out.

‘Some of the passes Paul played for Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe were incredible. It helped him to have N’Golo Kante as his midfield partner but I think the biggest reason that Paul’s performances were so good was his positioning. 

‘In all France’s games, he was playing deeper than we normally see him for Manchester United and this meant that he was able to pick the ball up in areas of the pitch where he had the time and room to pick a pass.’

Rooney says the clever runs made by Kylian Mbappe have allowed Pogba to excel for France

Rooney added that the runs made by forward Kylian Mbappe helped France to make the most of Pogba’s undoubted quality. 

At United, Rooney believes that if Marcus Rashford can develop his game and make similar runs to Mbappe then it will help to unlock Pogba’s best form at club level.

Rooney continued: ‘Give Paul time and space and he has the ability and imagination to really hurt the opposition. Mbappe had a poor Euros overall but he did contribute to Paul’s success. 

‘Teams sat off France because they were worried about Mbappe’s pace, which helped buy Paul that bit of room to play in, and Mbappe’s ability to run in behind allowed Paul to play a type of pass that he is so good at, the brave through ball right down the middle of the pitch.

Rooney feels Marcus Rashford needs to make similar runs to Mbappe in order to help Pogba

‘At United, Edinson Cavani is a different type of No 9, one who plays in the box, but if Marcus Rashford can develop his game and be encouraged to start making those Mbappe-style runs in behind, I believe you would see Paul doing more of what he does for his country in a club shirt.’

Pogba initially played for United as a youngster before leaving for Juventus in 2016. He returned to Old Trafford four years later amid much expectation and has had some impressive moments but has often found consistency hard to come by.

The 28-year-old has frequently been linked with a move away from United but should he remain at the club he will hope to be afforded more freedom in midfield, similar to how he is with France.

France boss Deschamps recently described Pogba as ‘a complete midfielder’ and commented on how he allows him to push forward.

Deschamps said: ‘Paul is a complete midfielder. He has that quality of passing, it’s part of his game.

‘You have to have the right movement. He has a fairly free role. He is not limited on the offensive aspect, his position can change, it depends on the placement and movement of other players.’ 

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